2017: Influencer marketing is here to stay

16 February 2017

2017: Influencer marketing is here to stay

In the past year, we’ve watched, and even helped launch, the development of the consumer-turned-digital influencer; a new tribe of pseudo celebrities, who’ve become famous brands in their own rights. In response, top brands’ desire to collaborate with influencers has seen a dramatic increase, and according to reports, influencer marketing budgets in 2016 rocketed up by 60%.

Fast forward to 2017 and here we are in an exciting position, with greater buy-in for influencer marketing and increased budgets set aside solely for influencer campaigns. It’s clear that past scepticism is vanishing, as brand and influencer relations strengthen day by day, making this one of the fastest- growing marketing channels.

Own your campaign, don’t own the creative narrative

Following the surge of influencer and brand collaborations in 2016, we’re seeing that brand and influencer relationships are continuing to strengthen, trust is being gained and ambassadors are being created.

2017 is the year of acting on that trust, so have confidence in your strategy, loosen the brand control and hand over creative freedom to the influencers. Not only will this ensure increased quality levels, the exclusivity will make both brands and influencers far more selective about who they choose to work with.

Think long term collaboration

Building sustainable relationships long term is essential for both brand and influencers. 2016 may have been a testing period for one off endorsements for many, but this year the priority has shifted to creating longevity and more meaningful partnerships.

Utilise contracts to formalise the process

A tighter legal framework has in some ways formalised the influencer marketing industry recently, and best practice is to provide contracts whether a collaboration is paid for or not. Many influencers are not managed by agents, which creates more responsibility for brands to ensure contracts are easily digestible, and everyone is clear on what’s expected from them. Whether already using formal contracts or not, it’s more than essential for brands to ensure that they have up to date knowledge on advertising regulations specific to their campaigns in 2017.

Never underestimate the power of the micro influencer

Working with the influencer A-List doesn’t always provide the best returns. Focusing on an untapped niche, or specifically a mid-tier Influencer, can often pay off through providing engagement on a more personal level, as well as communicating a sense of aspiration with an audience, which can be far more likely to create return.

Additionally, investing in an influencer during the early days of their career is a strategic way to create an authentic partnership, allowing both parties to reap the benefits of growing together.

Observe the rise of influencer teams

Now more than ever, we’re seeing influencers collaborate with one another. Naturally, they have their own influencer social circles and moreover, they’re aware of the value of their combined influence. 2017 will most likely see brands creating campaigns with influencer circles in a bid to shift the brand conversation within a more genuine scenario.

The past year has really delivered fascinating insights within the influencer marketing industry. It’s clear that traditional marketing tactics are no longer sufficient to engage the consumer, whose strong affiliation with influencers has shown simply that people don’t trust brands; people trust people and the quest of authenticity will be a key priority for both brands and influencers in 2017.

Shabz Choudhury

Digital PR & Partnerships Consultant